EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772), AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) Страница 5 of 12
in alchemy, Kabbalah, Indian philosophical teachings…). The image should also be associated with the impact of Swedenborgianism, from which (like Blake, Balzac and Baudelaire) Strindberg borrowed the principle of the quest for and the formulation of analogies on all existential levels. The Swedish playwright has also applied this principle in other metaphysical and symbolic interpretations on the subject of “the stages in personal growth” or the meaning of existence. The principle appears in an archetypal and prospective guise in Dream Play and The Great Highway; it appears in the form of religiously and mythically informed versions of ancient and quaint plots in Simoom, Advent, There Are Crimes and Crimes as well as in his chamber plays, among others. In these works we can discern numerous traces of the doctrine of correspondences. We can find here a phenomenology of esoteric knowledge about the true and the apparent, about the absolute and the relative. This phenomenology provides us with a clue to an interpretation of the universal and the microcosmic dimensions; it gives guidelines as to the direction one should follow in order to cover the long distance between the individual and the universal. The route is not only symbolically available but is also delineated through the key postulates of the system.
“What is above is what is below and what is below is what is above” 2 – this maxim conveys one of the key messages of Hermetic philosophy; it also constitutes a synthesized expression of the doctrine of correspondences. Applied to the physical world, the maxim aims to represent it as a miracle, as a receptacle of mysteries and messages; a receptacle accessible only on condition that its primordial code is accurately interpreted. Such interpretation could be achieved through analytical knowledge, but also through intuition and artistic invention. According to the view put forward in Lynn R. Wilkinson’s book The Dream of an Absolute Language (1996), the rationalist aspects of Swedenborg’s doctrine of correspondences are the ones that attracted the writers and literary theorists of the 19th century. In France, Wilkinson points out, as well as in England and Germany, the concept of a language of nature was a common term in the philosophy and aesthetics of the 18th century. The only difference consists in the French authors’ tendency to perceive the language of nature as a-historical, i.e. akin to the immutable structures of logic and mathematics, whereas Swedenborg’s doctrine of correspondences views this language as, on the one hand, mediating between science and theology, and on the other as highlighting the inner logic under the surface of the corrupted world. Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), Charles Baudelaire (1821- 1867), Stephan Mallarmé (1842-1898) and Stendhal (1783-1842) are among the most eminent advocates of this dimension of Swedenborg’s philosophy of nature. For them, Swedenborg was a prominent bearer of the 17th and 18th century idea of a universal language that could convey thoughts with
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